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Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Jalapeño Tomato Salsa: Everyday Super Food

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Another simple, tasty and healthy recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. The dish is more of an assembly than a complicated cooking procedure. If you can bake sweet potato, fry beans, cook rice, and make a salsa you have this dish covered!

My decided to cook the black beans instead of using tinned beans. Probably a mistake – soaking and cooking took so much time!  The rest was easy peasy, and the dish looked as tasty as it was.

Ingredients

2 x 200g sweet potatoes

100g brown rice

250g mixed colour tomatoes

2 spring onions

1 x 200g jar jalopeños

1/2 bunch coriander

1 red onion

olive oil

1 level tsp cumin seeds

1 x400g tin black beans

2 heaped tsps cottage cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Wash the sweet potatoes, then season and roast for 1 hour or until cooked through. After 30 minutes, cook the rice according to packet instructions or your favourite method, then drain. Roughly drop the tomatoes, finely slice the spring onions and place both in a bowl. Tip the jalopeños and their liquid into a blender or food processor putting in most of the coriander, reserving some leaves for decoration. Blitz until smooth, then return the mixture to the jar, using 2 tablespoons to dress the tomatoes and spring onions. The remaining dressing can be used for other meals.

Peel and finely slice the onion. Put a pan on medium heat on the stove top with 1 teaspoon of oil and the cumin seeds. Fry for 30 seconds then stir in the onion and a splash of water. Cook and stir for 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, then add the beans and all their juice. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes or until thick and oozy, stirring occasionally. Taste and season, loosening with splash or two of boiling water if needed.

Divide the beans, rice and tomato salsa between plates. Split open the sweet potatoes and add one to each plate. Spoon over the cottage cheese, season with black pepper and finish with the reserved coriander leaves.

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Coffee and Walnut Cake

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Here is a very easy recipe for a coffee and walnut cake. It’s almost  a “one bowl” cake  –  you only need to add the coffee and walnuts  to the basic mix at the end. Cook as two layers and fill and ice with buttercream as I did, or make one larger cake, or you could even make twelve cupcakes! It’s such a versatile recipe.

Ingredients

Cake

50g ground almonds

125g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tsps instant coffee powder

2 tbls milk

50g chopped walnuts + a few extra for decorating

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

2 tsp instant coffee

1 tbls milk

Method

The Cakes

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Generously butter two 18cm (7″) cake tins.

Put all the ingredients except the milk, coffee and walnuts into an electric mixer and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Dissolve the instant coffee into the milk, and add together with the chopped walnuts into the mixture.

Divide the batter equally between the two tins.  Place the tins in the oven and bake for 25- 30 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and golden on top, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave in the tins for 5 minutes before carefully turning out of the tins to cool on a wire rack.

Buttercream Icing

In a food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light an fluffy. Dissolve the instant coffee into the milk. Add this mixture to the icing, process until light and creamy.

To assemble

When cakes are completely cool, spread half of the buttercream icing on the bottom layer, and top with the second layer.

Roughly ice the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the buttercream using a palette knife. When you get to the sides, occasionally dip the palette knife into cold water as you ice to remove some of the thicker icing and to create the “naked icing” effect.  The idea is that the top of the cake is well iced and that the side sides are stripped back for a rustic look.  I’m still mastering the naked icing effect! Place the reserved walnuts on the top of the cake for decoration, or add a flower or two.

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Bills in Sydney’s Darlinghurst: Fab Food, Fab Vibe

 

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I’m a long time fan of Bill Granger and his food. His iconic first restaurant, bills in Darlinghurst, is a favourite place for breakfast or lunch – and it’s just around the corner from where I work.

Bill is an Aussie who now has restaurants worldwide, which all reflect his ethos for food and dining. When you walk into bills in Darlinghurst, the vibe is friendly, warm and generous. No pretensions here! The communal table is great, allowing everyone to share in each others’ dining experiences as you observe the delicious dishes being served to fellow diners.

As Bill says: ‘This is where it all began, in 1992. bills Darlinghurst is where I did my growing up. The miniscule kitchen and tiny dining room in one of Darlo’s old backstreet pub buildings set the tone for what we still do today. Local by-laws allowed us only a few seats – hence the now much-copied communal table where everyone ate together, reading the newspaper or striking up a conversation with the person enjoying scrambled eggs next to them. Today, it’s still a simple Sydney corner café, serving a menu of bills classics.’

There are some dishes that bills is famous for – creamy scrambled eggs, utterly moreish ricotta pancakes with banana and honeycomb butter and sweet corn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon. These two latter dishes are breakfast through to lunch and I’ve had both at either end of the morning! Bills burgers are pretty good too, the wagyu burger, with grilled swiss, pickled green chilli, herb mayo, rocket and fries is one of the Darlo offerings.

Another favourite on bills menus is the Aussie pavlova, and, as readers of other of my posts know, that’s a version of meringue of which I am very fond, possibly even obsessed… The Darlo bills version is a brown sugar pavlova, with rhubarb, pistachio and rosewater yoghurt.  I ate this recently and had to go home and instantly recreate my own version, see my Brown Sugar Pav post here.

The rest is in the photos. I’m regret I don’t have a photo of the scrambled eggs or wagyu burger – oh well, I will need to visit bills again soon I guess!

433 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

http://www.bills.com.au/

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Berry and Custard Chocolate Brownies

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This is a great recipe for chocolate brownies with a couple of twists. It’s based on Jamie Oliver’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Brownies from his lovely book of delights Comfort Food.

I loved the idea of this recipe with its peanut butter custard, but sadly had to forgo the peanut butter as the group I was baking for had some problems with nuts. I made the custard with just vanilla. It was fine – the custard gives a velvety smoothness to the brownies. The “jelly” in Jamie’s recipe is raspberry jam. This part of the recipe I did adhere to, but added fresh strawberries instead of raspberries.

The resulting brownie is very chocolatey, with its rough chunks of dark chocolate, soft with the custard and sweet and sharp with the berry tang. Recommended!

Ingredients

Custard
250ml semi-skimmed milk
1 vanilla pod
2 large free-range egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar)
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
20g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

Brownie mixture
230g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g dark chocolate + 50g extra for chocolate chunks in the brownie
230g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar)
4 large free-range eggs
150g plain flour
2 tbls raspberry jam
75g fresh berries (I used strawberries)

Method

To make the custard, put the milk into a pan, halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, then add both pod and seeds to the pan and lightly simmer on the hob, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a bowl, use a balloon whisk to combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and soft butter. Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk into the bowl, until combined. Return the custard mixture to the pan, place over a low heat and stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Leave the custard to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the brownies, grease and line a deep baking tray (20cm x 30cm). Melt the butter in a non-stick pan on a very low heat, then snap up and add the chocolate. Stir regularly with a spatula until melted and combined, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Leave to cool slightly, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until silky. Sift in the flour and mix well.

Pour the chocolatey brownie mix into the prepared tray, then swirl through the chilled custard (discarding the vanilla pod). Roughly mix in the additional chocolate chunks. Erratically distribute little spoonfuls of jam over the surface, then poke in the fresh berries (any fresh seasonal berries that correspond with the jam you’re using). Bake for around 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside but still a bit gooey in the middle. Leave to cool before cutting into portions.

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Tie Dye Marshmallows Again

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I’m mad on marshmallow making and I just had to include my latest efforts, a little more vibrant than the previous version. The recipe is the same – the basic Jamie Oliver recipe from his book Comfort Food, with the addition of different bright colours to the marshmallow, using the swirling technique with a skewer.

Here is the recipe from my previous post. I just upped the level of the colours and I flavoured this batch with vanilla and rosewater.

This is Jamie’s recipe adapted for tie dye colours.

Ingredients

50g cornflour

5g icing sugar

50g liquid glucose syrup

450g caster sugar

10 sheet gelatin

2 large free-range egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

A few drops each of different food colourings

Method

This is a precise recipe, so make sure you read through the method carefully before you start, get all your ingredients weighed out and get your equipment ready to go. Sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl. Finely sift half the mixture over a deep baking tray (20cm x 30 cm) and set the other half aside in the sieve until later.

Mix the liquid glucose syrup and caster sugar together in a pan over a low heat with 250ml of cold water. Heat gently, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved and you have a clear syrup.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a small pan with 125ml of water.

Once the sugar syrup is clear, turn up the heat, pop in a sugar thermometer and allow the syrup to boil vigorously (please don’t stir it). When it reaches 110ºC, place the gelatine pan over a medium heat and stir until dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites in a free-standing electric mixer until you have stiff peaks.

Once your syrup has reached 122ºC, very carefully and slowly pour it down the sides of the bowl of the moving mixer, then pour in the dissolved gelatine.

Add the vanilla paste and rosewater to the mixer bowl, then continue to whisk for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture has significantly increased in volume, but is thick and still pourable.

Have several bowls (one for each colour) ready, with a few drops of your chosen colours in each bowl. Once the marshmallow is whisked, pour into each of the bowls. Mix the colours through the marshmallow. You’ll need to work quickly, as the marshmallow will start to set.

Then pour each marshmallow mixture into the prepared tray. You can use your creativity here, in the way you place the colours. I used a skewer to swirl the colours together. You can smooth the top if you like, with a palette knife, but I like the rough effect. Sift over the remaining mixed cornflour and icing sugar and leave to set for two to three hours. Cut into squares and store in grease proof  paper in a tin. Keeps well for a few weeks.

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Apple and Almond Tart

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I have been wanting to experiment with puff pastry, and now on holidays, I have the time and space to get some practice in. Hence this apple and almond tart. This tart is made with rough puff pastry. It’s still a little fiddly to make, but not quite as time-consuming as real puff pastry.

However, unless you’re in the mood for some rolling and folding, you can just as well use good butter puff pastry, ready rolled, from the supermarket.  There are plenty of good recipes for puff and rough puff pastry if you want to go down this route. James Morton in How Baking Works and Paul Hollywood in How to Bake both take you through the process. And with all the diagrams too! So I’m assuming you will use the good store-bought stuff, or follow the directions of one the afore-mentioned Baking Aficionados!

I put an almond sugar filling in the tart before arranging some red apples in slices, with skin, on the tart. The almond mixture is not quite a frangipane as it has no butter. But you still end up with a rich almond paste on which to rest the apples.

Ingredients

1 1/2 red eating apples 

Juice of a lemon

65g ground almonds

65g caster sugar

65g icing sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 large free-range egg, beaten

1 quantity puff or rough puff pastry (enough to make a tart base about the size of a dinner plate  – maybe 26 cm?)

Raw or ordinary caster sugar to scatter over the tart.

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

To make the almond filling combine the ground almonds and sugars in the bowl of food processor. Add the almond extract and enough of the beaten egg to make a paste. The paste should be just firm enough to spread/ease into your pastry base.

Core and slice the apples thinly, and place the slices into the lemon juice to stop them going brown.

Roll out your chilled pastry, and cut a large circle, using a dinner plate as a guide. Place the circle on baking paper on a baking tray. Score the circle with another circle, 2cm inside the outer edge. This will give your tart an edge. Prick all over with a fork.

Place the almond mixture on to the pastry, leaving the outer 2cm circle free. Don’t worry if it doesn’t quite cover the pastry, just do your best. rough is OK. Drain the apples slices and place in any artistic way you like on the tart.

Brush the 2cm edge of the tart with the rest of the beaten egg.  Scatter the caster sugar over the tart, apples and the edge, but making sure the apples get a good covering. Place the tart in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The tart should be golden brown, and puffy round the edge.

Serve warm or cool with plenty of thick cream!

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Brown Sugar Pavlova with Maple Butter Pecans

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I had lunch recently at Bills in Darlinghurst, the original restaurant created by Bill Granger, now one of several restaurants world wide showcasing Bill’s simple and iconic style. I’m a huge meringue and pavlova fan, as this blog attests, so I had to order the brown sugar pavlova. It was amazing, crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, with a lovely caramel flavour of brown sugar.
It was really made for sharing, but this greedy diner ate it all by herself! And I didn’t share it with my Quirky Colleague, which was probably a bit mean, as the pavlova was so delicious.
So I decided to recreate it, with a few of my own tweaks on Bill’s original recipe, including changing the quantities. My version has raw caster sugar for an added caramel hit, and I served it with maple butter pecans. I mixed light sour cream with thick cream for a tang, to offset the sweetness of the meringue.

 

Ingredients

4 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g raw caster sugar

55g  soft brown sugar

3/4 tbls cornflour

1/1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Filling

150ml thick cream

50g light sour cream

1 tsp butter

50g pecans

2 tbls maple syrup

A handful of blueberries

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Draw small plate-sized circles on baking paper on a large baking tray.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Add the raw caster sugar and brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cornflour and vinegar.

Pile the mixture onto the circles on the baking paper and spread into shape with a spatula. Place the baking tray in the oven and reduce the temperature immediately to 130 degrees C. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn off the oven, prop the door ajar and leave the pavlovas until completely cooled.

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Combine the thick cream and the light sour cream in a bowl.  Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the pecans. Toss in the melted butter, then add the maple syrup. Fry until the pecans are coated in the maple butter, but be careful not to turn the maple butter to toffee!

Spoon the cream mixture onto the mini pavlovas, scatter the maple pecans and blueberries over the pavlovas and drizzle with the remaining maple butter. Serve straight away. You can also freeze the unfilled pavlovas for filling at a later date.

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